© Alain Smilo

Scarcely an adolescent, already a photographer! "My father taught me life through photography," says Manuel. In 1930 Robert Cohen created AGIP. It became one of the major French news photo agencies in Europe in the 1950s. Manuel's career started at twelve years old when his father took him to visit the world famous painter Joan Miro, at his home in Mallorca, Spain. Miro said, "are you going to take a picture of me?" Manuel borrowed his father's Rolleiflex and started shooting. His first photos were published in 1974.

Aged sixteen Manuel spent endless weekends working at his father's photo agency, developing pictures in the lab and experimenting with photography. He used to run out after school to cover events, taking pictures of the most famous painters, actors, and celebrities visiting Paris: Salvador Dali, Serge Gainsbourg and the like. The next day his pictures would be published all over the world in newspapers such as Le Figaro, The New York Times, El Pais and The Daily Mail.

For some years now Manuel has focused on his first passion and travelled the world in search of new views of heritage sites, natural and human atmospheres. Manuel says: "A photograph is a painting in one click. What takes time is waiting for that moment when the photographic elements combine to become beautiful: composition, special light, finding the correct angle, and then beauty appears with the click of the shutter."

In 2010 he covered the renovation of the Glasshouses in the Botanical gardens for the National Museum of Natural History. A book written by Eric Joly, Denis Larpin and Dario de Franceschi, and illustrated with Manuel's photos was published in autumn, 2010, by Editions Le Pommier / Mnhn, entitled "The Glasshouses of the Botanical Gardens" (Les Grandes Serres du Jardin des Plantes).

In the fascinating world of the museum, Manuel, a lover of nature and heritage, found many opportunities to indulge his passion photographically and has continued this work on other sites including Vincennes Zoo.

Beside daily newspapers and magazines, his images may be seen in various Fine Art Books: "Larousse Cathedrals", "Larousse Kings of France", and from Citadelles et Mazenot: "Naples and Pompeii", "Writing Sculpture", "Cathedrals of Europe", "Art in France".